Coronavirus Update – Sept. 16, 2020

Your coronavirus update for September 16; stay up to date with Elite.

Nearly 29 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Sunday evening, including at least 922,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 6.6 million positive COVID-19 cases and at least 197,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

AAP Announces Flu Vaccine Guidelines For Kids During Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with fall approaching, pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are recommending that more urging for children ages 6 months and older to be vaccinated.

Any licensed, age-appropriate vaccine is acceptable, according to the recommendations, which offer the option of a flu shot or nasal spray this season. 

“As a pediatrician, I am very concerned about the health of children and their families this fall if these two potentially deadly viruses are circulating in the community at the same time,” said Flor Munoz, MD, FAAP, lead author of the recommendations, developed by the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “Children play a pivotal role in the transmission of influenza to others in their household. They can also get seriously ill from influenza without a vaccination.”

Over the past flu season, 188 children and teens under 19 died of complications from influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Typically, about 80% of children who die are not vaccinated, officials report. This year, all influenza vaccines for children will be quadrivalent vaccines, including two A and two B flu virus strains, to protect against the four strains of the influenza virus expected to circulate this season. All licensed vaccines contain the same influenza viruses. The quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV4) is available for intramuscular injection for everyone 6 months of age and older, including healthy persons and those with high-risk conditions; the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) is a nasal spray mist that is also appropriate for healthy children 2 years of age and older.

There are various licensed formulations of IIV4 for infants and young children 6-35 months of age, including a 0.25 ml per dose and a 0.5 ml per dose formulation. The 0.5 ml formulation is the most widely available this season. Studies have shown that both doses are well tolerated and result in similar immune protection, according to the AAP. Therefore, both formulations can be used, with no preference of one over another.

Other recommendations from the AAP include:

  • Children should receive the vaccine as soon as it is available in their community and complete their vaccinations by the end of October.
  • The number of recommended doses of influenza vaccine depends on a child’s age at the time of the first administered dose and on his or her vaccine history. Children 6 months-8 years of age should receive two doses if this is the first time they are being vaccinated against influenza, or if they have only received one dose of flu vaccine ever before July 1, 2020.
  • Only one dose is necessary for children 9 years and older, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated before, and for children up to 8 years of age who have received at least two doses of influenza vaccine before July 1, 2020, even if not given in the same season.
  • All children with egg allergy of any severity can receive influenza vaccine without any additional precautions beyond those recommended for any vaccine. Egg allergy is not a contraindication for influenza vaccination. 
  • Pregnant women may receive influenza vaccine (IIV only) at any time during pregnancy. Maternal vaccination can protect infants in the first few months of life, which is important because there are no vaccines available for infants 0-6 months of age.
  • All healthcare personnel should receive an annual seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent influenza and reduce healthcare-associated influenza infections.

“During a pandemic, we can work together to reduce the risks of infection and of spreading illness to others,” Dr. Munoz said in a prepared statement. “Besides getting our vaccine to prevent influenza, we can be vigilant in making sure we and our children continue to maintain COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, face coverings and frequent handwashing.”

Incidence of COVID Higher Among Restaurant Goers, CDC Claims

Going to a restaurant or bar increases the odds that someone will test positive for COVID-19, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study “Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults Older Than 18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020” was conducted on a random sampling of individuals who were tested for COVID-19 from July 1-29 in healthcare facilities in 11 states, according to CDC officials. According to a follow-up report,1 study participants were asked to rate the frequency of their visits to places such as offices, salons, gyms, and bars on a five-point scale ranging from “never” to “more than once a day.” Additionally, they were asked to rate their adherence to guidelines issued at those places, including social distancing and mask-wearing. Researchers reportedly found that no major differences between the people who tested negative for COVID-19 and those who tested positive when it came to visiting offices, salons, or gyms. Those who tested positive for the virus were twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant or bar in the two weeks before the onset of the illness, however, the report1 claims. 

The findings are expected to have implications on states reopening, the study’s authors claim.2

Drug Companies Make Pledge On COVID Vaccine Process

An agreement among nine drug manufacturers is said to be marking a commitment to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as the work towards potential global regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines continues. According to officials with executives AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Sanofi the pledge holds that the companies “want to make clear our ongoing commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles.”

The nine companies that make up the pledge have collectively developed more than 70 novel vaccines that have helped to eradicate some of the world’s most complex and deadly public health threats, underscoring their experience in clinical development and regulatory rigor, as well as their longstanding commitments to patient safety and public health, officials said. The pledge assures that the safety and efficacy of vaccines, including any potential vaccine for COVID-19, is reviewed and determined by expert regulatory agencies around the world, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), officials said. Additionally, the pledge claims that each company will:

  • Only submit for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities.
  • Work to ensure a sufficient supply and range of vaccine options, including those suitable for global access.

Officials said that they expect the pledge to help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.

References

  1. Haglage A. CDC Finds Link Between COVID-19 Cases and Eating at Restaurants, but Experts Say Indoor Dining Can be Done Safely. YahooLife. 2020. Accessed online: www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/cdc-finds-link-between-covid-19-cases-and-eating-at-restaurants-but-experts-say-indoor-dining-can-be-done-safely-190351086.html
  2. Fisher KA, Tenforde MW, Feldstein LR. Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020. CDC. 2020. Accessed online: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf

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